In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.
The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.
A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants–from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys–except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.
When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down–along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they must deal with their common legacy if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom or with each other.
Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own.
In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.
Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…
Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.
Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.
As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.
Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.
This is an absolutely fantastic feel good story. The authors writing is lyrical and it was just like feeling the touch of a gentle summer breeze as I read this story. I can’t recommend this book highly enough to anyone who loves magic, flowers, plants, family love and romance.
– From Alaine – Queen of Happy Endings
Another girl TeddyRee said,
This was a magical, enchanting read. It made me feel like everything was right in the world, the kind of feeling you get with the first sign of spring flowers, a breath of fresh air on a still day, a rainbow after a sun shower. I guess the magical component really appealed to the little girl in me but this isn’t just a story about magic, it’s about self discovery, place, belonging and love, wrapped up in a gentle, uncomplicated read.
– From The Eclectic Reader
Didn’t I say this book is just that I need NOW!
As if that was not enough, Alaine went ahead and posted review of Sugar Queen, God!
Doesn’t this girl know that I cannot possibly be under so much pressure 😉 🙂
This book reminds you that love is magical and can make water boil, books appear when you need them the most and family relationships are complicated. If you are looking for a highly entertaining read then The Sugar Queen is a must read.
hmm… now you know WHY I really need to buy both these books by Sarah Addison Allen. Alaine also tells us that her next book The Girl Who Chased the Moon is due out in March 2010. Now I really need to get to both these books before THAT!
Have you seen anyone eagerly waiting for a book by an author you have never read before?!
That’s Veens for you 🙂